Tips for staying safe in the summer heat

iphone showing summer temperatures in liverpool

With one heatwave already under our belts this summer, it's important to think about how to stay safe when temperatures soar.

Summers in the UK are unpredictable to say the least. Some years, we get week after week of grey skies only to be surprised by three days of glorious sun. Other years, those sunny days go beyond being glorious and move into being dangerous.

Last year, the UK recorded temperatures brushing the 40s. As a country, we aren't really prepared for heat like that.

In this blog, we're going to look at some of the dangers of extreme heat and how you can protect yourself.


Sitting out in the sun with an alcoholic or sugary drink can feel nice, but it can leave you dehydrated.

Being dehydrated can be very dangerous. You can end up with cramping or heat exhaustion. Repeated bouts of dehydration can lead to liver and kidney problems.

When it comes to preventing dehydration, the goal is to drink more fluid than you lose. When it's hot, this can mean you need to drink more than usual.

Ideally, you want to use water to replace the fluid you lose. If you don't like the taste water, try diluted squash or cutting up some fruit to put in your water.

Fizzy, sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks should be limited. These can actually make you more dehydrated.

If you struggle to remember to drink enough fluids, you can try using an app to track how much water you drink. Or set a reminder on your phone.

Direct sunlight

After a long period of cloudy days, it can feel so nice to sit out in the sun. But even if you are a lifelong sun worshipper or you have never burned before, direct sunlight can be dangerous.

Too long spent in the sun can lead to overheating, dehydration or sunburns.

On a bright, sunny day it's important to take breaks from direct sunlight. Look for shade and go inside occasionally. You can even try a floppy hat to keep the direct sun off your face.

And of, wear suncream. It can protect against skin cancer and sunburn. If you do end up with sunburn, you can read through some advice on the NHS website for treating it.

High temperatures

This may seem an obvious one, but spending long periods of time in very high temperatures can be dangerous. It can lead to becoming overheated, which can cause confusion, disorientation and fatigue.

Try to take a break from the heat by going into airconditioned buildings when you can. If you aren't able to do so, try sitting in front of a fan or running your wrists and/or feet under cool water.

To keep your house from getting too hot, try opening smaller windows overnight and keeping curtains in full sun closed during the heat of the day. Blackout curtains can also help keep the worst of the heat from the sun out.

Bug bites and stings

As temperatures rise, two things always happen. We spend more time outside. And then newly hatched insects find us.

Try to keep your skin covered when you're outside around sunrise and sunset. This is when bugs are most likely to be active. Insect bites can become infected, so do keep an eye on any bit you get.

If you've ever had a bad reaction to bites or stings, make sure to let the people around you know.


You may have read about an increase in tick numbers this summer. Ticks are on the rise in the UK and can carry some very serious diseases.

If you are going to be out in long grass, be sure to wear long trousers and pulled-up socks.

When you come back inside, make sure you check yourself for ticks. It can be a good idea to ask a close friend or family member to help you check everywhere.

If you'd like to read more about staying safe during the summer, check out this blog from the UK Health Security Agency.

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